Yellowstone Park is a wilderness wonderland all Americans should visit at least once in a lifetime. The nearly 3,500 sq mile park is located mostly in Wyoming but stretches into Idaho and Montana as well. It is home to natural wonders such as the Old Faithful geyser, hot springs, volcanos, rivers, and an abundance of wildlife. There are things to do in Yellowstone for everyone, whether they're looking to relax or go on a challenging hike.
Camping is a very popular activity at Yellowstone Park. There are twelve campgrounds and more than 2,000 campsites available. Reservations can be made at some of the campgrounds and but others are first come, first served. The park also offers backcountry camping for the adventurous who want to explore on foot. Permits must be obtained before visiting. Some of the backcountry campsites can be reserved, as well.
If you prefer to explore the park with a professional who knows the ins and outs, there are plenty of guided tours. Visitors can book several backpacking, bicycling, day hiking, and fishing tours. Tours can also be suited to your hobbies, such as those designed expressly for photography, camping trips, and snowshoeing in the winter months. Guided tours are a simple way to learn tons of information about the park. Rangers are very knowledgeable and can provide answers to all your questions.
Yellowstone Park is home to a wide variety of animal species, including grizzly bears, black bears, bighorn sheep, elk, wolves, and moose. Visitors can take guided wildlife viewing tours, or explore on their own. The park shares the best spots to go and times to be there. It is always important to remember animal safety, and the park has information on best practices for these excursions.
Old Faithful is one of the most well-known aspects of Yellowstone. Thousands of people visit year-round to watch the geyser erupt. It is one of 500 in the park and one of only six with a predictable eruption time. Eruptions are exciting and unique, and wildlife tends to come by. There are lodging options in the area, including the Old Faithful Inn built in 1903. It is worth viewing even if you don't stay there; the National Historic Landmark offers over 300 rooms for guests to enjoy.
Yellowstone has its own grand canyon, and it spans 20 miles. It was formed by erosion of the Yellowstone River. Visitors can explore several waterfalls and take in unbelievable views from several vantage points. Hiking trails for all skill levels are available in the area. Hayden Valley is also located in Canyon Village and is an excellent spot to view wildlife.
All along the park are waterways where avid anglers can cast a line. Yellowstone Lake and Madison River are some of the popular spots; they are home to various species of trout including brown, rainbow, brook, and cutthroat, the latter of which is native to Yellowstone. You can explore and find places on your own, or take a guided fishing tour with an expert.
Horseback riding is a great way to get out and see the park from a different vantage point. There are several outfitters to provide guided trips and horses. They offer day trips and overnight camping excursions. You can even bring in your own horse as long as he or she meets the regulations.
Yellowstone doesn't let winter slow it down. There are plenty of activities to do during the cold months, snowshoeing being a popular one. There are miles of trails, plowed roads, and the backcountry is open space for winter adventurers. Take caution on trips alone, as there are animals, chances of avalanches, and changing weather conditions. Guided tours are available as well.
The Mammoth Hot Springs Area is a large grouping of hot springs that is explored by a series of boardwalks and trails. This is the location of Fort Yellowstone, a U.S. Army fort was built in 1890. The historic site belonged to the U.S. Army soldiers that protected Yellowstone Park from poachers and people exploiting the land. Today the fort serves as staff accommodations and is home to the Horace Albright Visitor Center.
Hiking is a great way to see amazing views. There are over 900 miles of hiking trails within Yellowstone Park. Some trails are long and strenuous, and others are short and easy. It is recommended to read up on the trails before heading out and know your skill level. Guided hikes are available to help you navigate some of the harder trails. The weather changes fast in the park, so always check the forecast before heading out, and let someone know where you're going.